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ALEXAKDKB YON   TIUMBOLBT,                   19
quoiitly of his more realizable hopes for the great
travelling plains oyor present to his mind's eye. He
wan, at thin time,, an industrious as he was cheerful,
and Iforst.er himself calls the letters written, to him at
11 * is tin to, wlttvy, full of humour, goodness and sensi-
bility. Among his associates we must mention espe-
cially Christian Btollberg.
But Alexander did not stay long in Hamburg.  His
lovo for natural science^ especially for geognosy (the
science of the composition of the eurth/B surface) and
•the reputation of  W,EKJSfER,  director of  the mining
academy of   FroiLmrg,   who   had introduced a  new
theory of geology on  scientific principles,  a*xd who
wan at the sumotimo the greatest geognost of the age,
existed the wish in Alexander von Hximbolclt to go
there likowige, and study the metallurgical  sciences.
In addition to this groat iuducomoixt, it happened
that a young man named Leopold YOU Bxich, of Ber-
lin, who, though younger, had formerly been intimate
wiUi  Humholdt/ in   coiusequeitco   of  his interest in
holiuuy, 'was also studying mining, and was already in
Jfroiburg.    I:I;unibo,ldf. therefore removed to Freiburg
in (»lu% spring of 17JM, and became a student at the
mining academy at the same time that his brother
William had   determined to give up his official  ac-
tivity lor n, time, to retire from public life, and to de-
vote himself to higher studies beside Caroline, whom
1m was BOOH to  call his wifti.    "When Alexander left
Jlamlmrg, ho hastened to Berlin to enjoy the society
of bin tuofcher, bin brother 'who waa remaining here
until   tlio   Bumtner,. and  hi« friend Kunth.    He re-
mained, hero till July for the recreation, of his health,
and for the preparations lor his plan», and then went
to Freiburg to his mining studies, where he devoted
himnelf until Match in the  following year, with es-
pecial !H«aL to thfo Hcionoort of jnining and Hietallurgy.
'With the spring of 1792, h© ontorod UIDOTX his ciyic
and literary "sphere. Ho was about this time ap-
pointed aBBOKBor to the mining and smelting depart*-
of Borliuy but wSs' iu tlxc same year removed .*>
c 2